toronto concerts

12 must-see concerts in Toronto this May

The top concerts in Toronto this May ring in spring with chart-toppers alongside brilliant songwriters and outdoor venues officially opening for business.

April kinda sucked for music city, with HMV saying goodbye, more venues facing doom and CMW’s sad parade of out-of-touch, basically offensive panels, but next month looks brighter.

There are so many hot tickets coming up, I couldn’t even list them all: Mastodon, Ryan Adams, Mac Demarco, Sigur Ros...even Shaggy!

Festivals are also heating up: Briefcasefest is in its fifth year of embracing underground metal, Next Music from Tokyo and Kpop Con bring music from the other side of the world, CBC Music Festival returns to the beach and Drone Day goes into year four of atonal worship.

Those aside, here are my picks for Toronto concerts this May.

  • Concerts
    Date
    About the Event
    Location
    • May 3
      If you’ve turned a radio on pretty much any time in the past year, you’ve probably heard her moody, alt-pop breakout hit “River” (and had it get stuck in your head a few dozen times). Only an EP into her career, Briggs is already one to watch.
      Mod Club Theatre
    • May 5
      The shoegaze revival has brought many long-lost bands of the genre out of hiding, but Slowdive aren’t just in it for a quick, lucrative reunion gig or two. Their first new album in two decades actually comes out the same day as this gig at the Danforth.
      The Danforth Music Hall
    • May 5-6
      The curmudgeonly folk weirdo/LSD enthusiast is back with another dose of Pure Comedy - this time somewhere much nicer than the “parking lot next to a freeway” he was last at for NXNE, so expect more posi vibes and less high-speed traffic ambiance.
      Royal Alexandra Theatre
    • May 6
      DIY music things aren’t known for their permanency (especially in this city), but Burn Down the Capital’s monthly food + bands gathering at Jam Factory has been going for six years. Enjoy tunes from locals Phedre, Zones and more, plus free eats as always.
      Jam Factory T.O
    • May 10
      She's only 27, but that’s impossible to tell from the Brit songwriter's work; Laura Marling’s already put out her sixth LP of delicately composed music that belies wiseness beyond her years. Get enamored with her (if you’re not already) at the Danforth.
      The Danforth Music Hall
    • May 11
      Three years since putting out the career-making Too Bright, Perfume Genius is back with new emotive jams, and the few snippets released so far reveal hints of big hooks and cool experimentation.
      Mod Club Theatre
    • May 16
      After spending much of last year guesting on tours and tracks for others, Future came back big for 2017, releasing two LPs within a week. He's bringing along fellow hip-hop powerhouses Migos, Tory Lanez and Kodak Black for a headline tour.
      ACC
    • May 19
      Deafheaven’s success typically takes them only to bigger venues or festivals nowadays, so it’s a treat when you can catch them somewhere small (as anyone at their nuts 2015 Adelaide Hall gig will remember). The Garrison gets you in tighter than normal with one of modern metal's most intense.
      The Garrison
    • May 23
      The UK founders of melancholy, electro-tinged pop's explosion have finally made their long-awaited return, and somehow, the new record managed to live up to everyone’s impossibly high expectations. You might be able to still nab tickets to the Monday show, but hurry.
      TD Echo Beach
    • May 26
      Toronto's pensively crooning pride and joy is clearly busy tooling a new clothing line and showing off his famous new GF all over the dang place, but that doesn’t mean he’s too busy to come home for a visit. Scope out Abel (and probs Selena too) at ACC.
      Air Canada Centre
    • May 31 - June 1
      Roughly a month after Massey was graced by PJ Harvey, a kindred alt-rock icon inhabits the historic space. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds perform for two nights in honour of last year’s devastatingly beautiful The Skeleton Tree.
    Lead photo by

    Brian Morton of The Weeknd

Lead photo by

Brian Morton of The Weeknd


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